Eleven-time champion rider Derek O’Connor was in treble-winning form at Lisronagh on Saturday, teaming up with the Mark Fagan-owned and trained Kaletto to run out the day’s most convincing winner in the Mikey Ryans Bar & Kitchen five-year-old mares’ maiden.
An eye-catching second at The Pigeons last month on her return to action, the daughter of Kalanisi, who was also bred by Westmeath-based Fagan, proved to be too good for her six rivals, comfortably accounting for the fast-finishing Givemylovetorose by four lengths.
“She had a tough race in The Pigeons but she came back to herself in the last week or so, so I’m delighted with that. She has a bit of toe so we will probably go to the track now,” said the Derravarra-based handler.
O’Connor had opened his account for the afternoon with what was another comfortable success, as Tim Hyde’s West Cork carried him to a popular local success in division two of the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham four-year-old geldings’ maiden.
The British-bred son of Midnight Legend always had too much pace for his two principal rivals, Poncherello and Eclair Surf, to win by four lengths. The winning handler indicated that he believed his charge had the pace for a bumper, and that is where he could next be seen.
The Galwegian relied upon his dependable ally, Longhouse Music, to bring up his treble, as she won her second race of the season in the Athassel House Stud & Thomastown Castle Training Stables mares’ open.
Getting the better of two geldings when opening her account for the season at Moira four weeks earlier, it was a fellow winner on that Co. Down card last month which provided her with her stiffest challenge, with the pace-setting Summons To Court, pushing her all the way to the last, before the nine-year-old stamped her class on the race to prevail by four lengths.
There were lengthy deliberations over the close finish to the Sherry Fitzgerald Country Homes five-year-old geldings’ maiden, in which a pair of track recruits, Sidetracked and Bothar Dubh, flashed past the post almost as one.
The former was eventually called the winner, with a head given as the final verdict.
The Beneficial gelding was making his first start between the flags and for Gearóid O’Loughlin, having failed to fire in two outings in maiden hurdles for Gordon Elliott, and his future now looks set to lie in the hunter chase division.
“We would have taken a dead-heat. We didn’t buy him to be here trying to win a five-year-old geldings’ but I would imagine we might go hunter chasing now,” said O’Loughlin of the Chris Jones-owned half-brother to Cue Card.
Having come out the wrong side of that photo finish, the Declan Queally and Michael Sweeney combination had a deserving change of fortunes in the concluding Hotel Minella older maiden for novice riders with Ask Heather.
Having her first start for Queally’s Waterford yard, the daughter of Ask, who had previous track-placed form, made her move early in the home straight to overhaul fellow mare, Oaks Empress, before powering to a ten-length success for owner-breeder Michael O’Donovan.
The wining handler indicated that his charge could return to the track in time.
The season’s leading rider Barry O’Neill got the best out of Takingitallin as the Fame And Glory mare ran out a deserving winner of the Goffs four-year-old mares’ maiden.
Second on her final two outings in the spring, the Milestone Racing Partnership-owned bay mare bounced back from a heavy penultimate fence fall at The Pigeons on her reappearance three weeks earlier, to get the better of the newcomer Dime A Dozen by a length.
“She got a heavy fall the last time and Barry (O’Neill), just said that she was very careful at her fences,” said the reigning champion handler.
“She is a consistent little lady and had finished second in any of the races she has finished to date and she will go to the sales now.”
Bowe and O’Neill would have had high hopes of doubling up in division one of the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham four-year-old geldings’ maiden with the French-bred Eclair Des Sablons.
The pace-setter held the advantage coming to the final fence, only to throw in a poor leap at the last, which handed both the initiative and the race to the newcomer Mister Tickle.
That son of Morozov went on to score by a length and a-half for Harley Dunne and Shark Hanlon. “He is a lovely horse, but I didn’t know if he was fit enough for today. The filly that I ran in the first race blew up and Harley (Dunne) said that this lad took a good blow too,” said Hanlon.
“My horses are just coming now. You couldn’t get them away on grass, so it was very hard to get them fit, but I have a few nice horses for over the weekend. He will go to Cheltenham now.”